Canada Beyond 150 banner

Participants Profiles

Top of the page


Aaron Henry

I’m a decentralized thinker. I like to play with categories, ideas and things by putting them in new pairings and unfamiliar places. As a lecturer and researcher, I have written on surveillance, the history of record keeping and the administrative legacy of Canada’s fur trade. I take from this background an appreciation of how looking “backwards” can help us conceptualize the social and economic dimensions of new and emergent policy challenges.


Aayah Shadad

I’m a Negotiations Analyst at Treaties and Aboriginal Government at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). I was recently awarded a Master’s Degree from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (2016), specializing in the governance of oil resources and the post-oil political economies of the Arab Gulf states. I'm passionate about socially inclusive development and anything “Jane Austen.”

Ahlam Taboun

Ahlam Taboun is a Research Officer at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, working in the Strategic Research and Statistics Directorate. She is also a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Carleton University. Alongside her passion for research and women's rights, Ahlam is also an avid foodie. She loves trying new restaurants and recipes. In her free time she loves exploring parts of the world that are off the beaten path, such as her most recent adventure in Malta.


Aleena Esmail

Aleena Esmail is an enthusiastic young public servant who has started her career at the Emergency Watch and Response Centre at Global Affairs Canada. Her interest in wellness and helping others drove her to start a Wellness Committee within the division, with the goal of supporting her colleagues in maintaining mental and physical health in a shift work environment. She feels very strongly about providing equal opportunity for all marginalized groups, and participates in both the Women’s Network and Visible Minorities group at Global Affairs. She loves to travel and gain new experiences, and hopes to be posted abroad during her career.

Alejandra Ortiz

Alejandra is part of a “generation of bureaucrats [who] are trying to figure how to navigate and balance [their] role in democracy as public servants and private citizens.” ("Putting the “public” in public servant", Policy Options) In her role as Regional Liaison Officer at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, she supports senior executives in the region, as well as the minister, in drafting briefings and other materials. Outside of work, Alejandra volunteers with local grassroots groups that amplify women’s voices and promotes a more inclusive civic discourse for all women. In her spare time, you can find Alejandra cheering for FC Barcelona or walking her American bulldog along Queen Street West in Toronto.


Amanda Creamer

Amanda is a graduate of the University of Prince Edward Island with an Honours in History and a minor in Diversity and Social Justice Studies. At work she is the Human Resources lead on the Employment Equity file at Veterans Affairs Canada, where she enjoys coming up with new and creative ways to visualize data and develop policy. Amanda also owns and operates an organic vegetable business with her partner, Jessica. In her spare time, Amanda likes to get lost (mostly on purpose) in the forests of eastern Prince Edward Island with her dog, Neil.

Amanda Popowicz-Soni

Policy Analyst, Labour Program, Employment and Social Development Canada

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

#AlwaysCurious #Enigmatic

Amy Awad

My passion is learning and I am always curious about how to make things better. I am honoured to be an active community volunteer, a member of a local union executive and usually involved in at least two more projects than I can actually handle (Canada Beyond 150 is No. 3). I am currently a senior policy analyst in Bilateral and Regional Labour Affairs at the Labour Program where I support the negotiation and implementation of labour provisions in Canada’s free trade agreements. I completed bachelor degrees in software engineering and common law, and a master’s degree in law and technology and I have worked in different capacities in the areas of law, technology, labour and human rights around Ottawa. I am bilingual (English / French) and have knowledge of Arabic and Spanish.


Andreia Santos

Andreia is a proud Torontonian with a hyphenated identity. Currently an Analyst at Global Affairs Canada, she works on a range of issues relating to the rights and protection of children and youth with a particular focus on human trafficking and sexual and gender-based violence. Andreia was recently temporarily posted at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations as an Advisor during the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly and was the lead negotiator for Canada, Australia, New Zealand (CANZ) on several Economic and Financial Committee resolutions related to human rights and gender equality. Before joining the Canadian Public Service, Andreia worked at the European Commission, where she led on several pan-European efforts aimed at improving access to education among Roma communities. In what seems like another lifetime ago, Andreia worked in banking before realizing her heart was in public policy.


Andrew Chisholm

At heart, Andrew is a small-town guy from Cape Breton Island, NS, but he learned to love city life in Halifax and Toronto before coming to the NCR. He dabbled in philosophy before shifting to foreign policy, defence and political economy issues to complete his B.A. in Political Science and History, and his Master's in Global Affairs. Andrew joined the GOC through the Advanced Policy Analyst Program in 2015 and did stints at Finance, Treasury Board Secretariat and the Privy Council Office before landing at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He is passionate about understanding the links between seemingly disconnected issues - and how they can be used for good purpose.


Angel Qi

Angel is passionate about continuous improvement, strategic and cross-disciplinary collaboration—but wait, is she talking about HR management or yarn crafts?! You may never know, but they drive her desire to make a positive and profound impact on Canada and its citizens—whether it’s through crocheting cute amigurumis, knitting a warm scarf or innovating for Canada’s success beyond its 150th. Since joining the public service in October 2013, Angel has served a diverse client base in program delivery and worked with colleagues across the country in staffing operations at ESDC.


Anja Bilandzic

I love working at the intersection of where data meet the social world. As an epidemiologist (sorry, I don’t know when the zombie apocalypse is!), I have been able to experience many facets of the public health sphere through research and applied settings. This has enriched my understanding of the world around us and has driven my curiosity and desire to keep learning and contributing. I’m also a recent transplant from Toronto to Halifax and am having a great time exploring the Atlantic coast while trying to keep the plants in my apartment alive.


Annette Elliott Rose

Annette continues to enjoy a diverse health care career with a network of colleagues in various professions, sectors and settings within Canada and around the world. Annette’s work focuses on supporting evidence-informed health system decision-making, policies and designs supported by population health needs and interprofessional practice. In the past, Annette has been a community health nurse/outpost nurse in several northern Inuit communities, a labour and delivery nurse, a nurse educator, a researcher and a provincial consultant. Currently, Annette leads an interprofessional team with First Nations and Inuit Health branch, to support health and well-being in First Nation communities in the Atlantic region.


Annie Xie

Annie joined the public service in July 2016 as an analyst at Statistics Canada, working on monthly gross domestic product (GDP) analysis. Her research background is in economic development and income inequality. She loves exploring new ideas, perspectives, and places. Many of her weekends are spent reading cookbooks and making pastries.


Anthony Sheehan

As a public servant, when I tell people that I started my career as an Associate Producer in the gaming industry at Ubisoft Quebec City’s studio, they often look at me, puzzled, and ask: What happened!? As if I was some kind of lottery-made millionaire that burned through all my cash in a heartbeat and was left with nothing. In fact, I’m thrilled to be working within the #GCDigital community and trying to find ways to blend Agile, User-centred design and Deliverology to help bring better services faster to Canadians. And if that wasn’t enough, my 4 and 2 year old boys keep me very fulfilled (and busy)!

Top of the page


Caitlin Lyon

The early bird who tries to look past the obvious worm to discover what else is in store! Public servant and departmental professional network leader who has experience in program evaluation, environmental policy and project management. Inspired by the power of mentorship and how youth can leverage this tool to encourage new ways of thinking and to create innovative approaches to break down challenges. Aspiring change-maker, eternal optimist and fitness enthusiast—my best ideas often come in the gym, along the running path or on the yoga mat.


Chaity Spencer

Despite childhood dreams of one day becoming a Bollywood actress, Chaitanya ended up as a policy analyst at the Privy Council Office. Originally from Vancouver, she completed her Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa in 2014. She is an avid traveller and has been to 40+ countries, where she loves trying all sorts of different vegetarian food. Besides public policy, her primary passion is history, especially Ancient Greek and Byzantine.


Chelsea Moore

Chelsea thrives on her insatiable curiosity, and will rarely turn down an opportunity to explore. She has worked in many parts of urban and rural Canada, Europe, South America and the Middle East, and has spent much of her early career working and volunteering with marginalized communities. Despite her escapades abroad, Chelsea identifies as a prairie girl, having grown up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has a passion for music, the great outdoors, and more recently, urban gardening. Chelsea joined the public service in 2016 as Legislative Counsel for Justice Canada, and prior to that, worked in litigation as criminal defence counsel in Ottawa.

Cheryl Dudgeon

I’m an urban explorer, writer, community animator, and popular culture analyst. I’m new to Ottawa and enjoying all the city has to offer. I’m currently navigating a transition from university teaching in the areas of international human rights law, globalization and refugee studies to government policy work. At the Department of National Defence, I have the opportunity to learn about new and challenging defence and security issues every day. The Recruitment of Policy Leaders program brought me to government, and I’m always looking for new ways to put my passion for inclusivity into practice.

#socialleader #letshavesomefun

Colum Grove-White

Colum generally thrives in environments where there isn’t a lot of structure and risk taking is encouraged. He is an active executive member of Renaissance, the TBS’ youth professionals' network, and enjoys getting into all sorts of trouble within the department. Colum is excited for Canada Beyond 150, as he believes that meaningful culture change within government needs to start at the grassroots. Colum is an avid traveller, community organizer, marathon runner, and plays Settlers of Catan like it’s nobody’s business.

Top of the page


Daniel Totten

My career to date has largely revolved around working with vulnerable populations to develop resiliency and overcome barriers in their lives in positions spanning across frontline service delivery to research, academia and policy development. As a program policy professional, I currently work at Employment and Social Development Canada where I am a key player in the area of youth employment including the administration of the Youth Employment Strategy and the Canada Summer Jobs program. I have a Master's in psychology from Carleton University where I studied human behaviour and its various drivers, including important internal processes such as motivation and emotion and how they relate to well-being. I am an active advocate for greater mental health and enjoy spending time volunteering in the community leveraging support for local mental health initiatives and raising awareness. My passion lies in all things health and wellness and in my spare time I am a fitness enthusiast, avid coffee drinker, a big fan of sports and angry birds.


Darroch Harrop

I'm a policy analyst at Natural Resources Canada, where I work on strategic policy for Canada's nuclear industry, making use of my background in economics and overall policy wonkishness. I'm strongly allergic to red tape, and I'm looking forward to working with other young public servants to promote experimentation and using new approaches to better serve Canadians. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and am currently completing a Master of Arts in Political Economy at Carleton University. After hours, you'll often find me downtown at the nearest heavy metal show.


David Fishman

Driven by his curiosity and desire to learn, David is a project-oriented person with a keen interest in the natural world and understanding the niche we, as humans, occupy therein. This interest has resulted in a broad range of engagements throughout David’s life, including having participated in an international environmental youth program, academic pursuits in the field of ecology, agricultural entrepreneurship and most recently, a position with the Atlantic Region of the Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment and Climate Change Canada).

Top of the page


Eiad El Fateh

Eiad El Fateh is currently a Senior Advisor at Finance Canada working on the Equalization program. He previously worked at the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Canada. He has an MA in economics from Queen's University as well as a law degree and BComm from UBC. His most impressive achievement as a public servant is winning a branch chess tournament in 2017.


Elisabeth Sire

Elisabeth was born and raised in Ottawa, grew up horseback riding and now spends her free time cycling, swimming and salsa dancing. Professionally, Elisabeth has worked in three federal departments in the National Capital Region and has an interest in a variety of public policy topics, ranging from environmental and agricultural issues to data quality. She loves to learn new things and looks forward to supporting the Canadian federal government in developing new approaches to support open policy making.


Emily Cox

Emily is a policy analyst at Health Canada. A recent graduate from the Master of Public Administration program at Queen’s University, she is also a registered social worker with a background in health and social policy. Emily is a world traveller and Canadian nomad, having lived in five provinces and one territory.


Étienne Lepage

Top of the page


Fernaz Behrooz

Farnaz loves to pursue creative solutions, but hates doing it alone! Growing up as a newcomer, she learned the importance of accessible government services, meaningful citizen engagement, and the power of collective impact. This led her to study civic and social inclusion at York University and then at Carleton University, where she earned her Master’s degree in Political Science. She is passionate about advocating for diversity and democratic engagement, whether as part of the Diversity Committee at the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, on the Women’s Advisory Committee at a credit union, or her work on civic issues in the city. Farnaz is currently a policy analyst at Employment and Social Development Canada’s Strategic and Service Policy Branch—the perfect place to work with others to improve services to Canadians. Oh yes, and she also loves karaoke.

Fiona Hossack

manages a team of policy ghostbusters
meet me outdoors! hike, camp, bike, snowshoe, garden
let’s dance and talk about feminist science fiction, travel or cats
committed to reconciliation


Frank Assu

Hello, my name is Frank Assu, otherwise known as Tlakwatsi. I am a member of the We Wai Kai First Nation on Quadra Island, BC.

I am a husband, father of 4, grandfather of 1, and a young 43 year old! I love fishing, tennis, hiking and biking. I am a volunteer fire fighter and first responder with Comox Fire Rescue. I currently work with Canada Border Services Agency in Comox, BC as a Border Services Officer.

My passion is Canadian history, I have been to many historical sites and love going to Parks Canada historic sites across the country. Basically, I am an amateur historian!

Top of the page


Gacia Assadourian

I started my career in the Public Service under the Federal Student Work Experience Program while I attended university. Since then, I have gained experience in a variety of roles within Service Canada and Industry Canada, working for programs such as Employment Insurance and Access to Information and Privacy. My current role involves analyzing and researching socio-economic and labour market information for external and internal clients. The best part of my job is that I learn something new almost every day. I enjoy travelling, baking, reading, working out and gardening.


Greg White

Greg thought studying international development and globalization would broaden his horizons and realized that all it took was minoring in women’s studies. Skilled in the art of conversation. Active listener who loves to get his hands dirty and deliver complex projects. Happy to collaboratively pave the way where needed.

Top of the page


Henry (Hank) Trim

Hank gets bored easily, so he is continually learning/doing/reading/eating new things. Hank’s propensity to get bored led him to earn a PhD in the history of science with focus on Canadian energy policy from the University of British Columbia. He currently spends most of his time working on the fascinating Generation Energy Dialog on Canada’s energy future for Natural Resources Canada. In the few hours Hank is not at work, he runs in Gatineau Park with his partner and their dog, cooks and eats new and tasty things, and loses at board games.


Herbert de Graaf

Currently working at Social Innovation, Employment and Social Development Canada, I am a professional with a broad skill set, based on extensive international work across sectors (EU, UN, Government, NGOs, Foundations and CSR Companies).

I seek to combine upstream, enabling approaches to address issues with an open, consensus-driven, and focused working style. Strategist with an eye for detail, analyst with a quick grasp of complexities, I am intellectually honest, think out of the box to connect dots and won’t hesitate to rock the boat to seek solutions – always with the end (-beneficiary) front of mind! I am passionate to contribute to stronger and more enabling government, to tackle complex socio-economic problems more effectively, leaving no-one behind.

I regularly press reset to go back to my default, which keeps me fresh, along with catamaran sailing, soccer, enjoying nature, other beings and seemingly simple things.


Top of the page


Isabelle Giroux

Isabelle has been a policy analyst with Canadian Heritage since January 2016. Prior to joining the federal public service, she worked for the Québec Ombudsman and the National Assembly of Québec. Isabelle has a multidisciplinary academic background with a focus on international studies, political science and public administration. Over the past 10 years, she has lived in Gatineau, Quebec City, Montreal, Ljubljana and Dublin. Isabelle likes to learn new things – she is particularly interested in social issues, intergenerational issues, languages and literature.

Top of the page


Jaime Hidalgo

An idealist at heart, these days I spend my time (work week) absorbed in the wonderful world of economic development related to Indigenous peoples. Born and raised in the small Latin American country of El Salvador, my journey to Canada has taken me through the country’s four largest cities and eventually the national capital region where I completed my Master's degree in Globalization and International Development at the University of Ottawa. My master’s thesis research on agricultural production and prison labour systems in El Salvador included field work in that country and remains a personal interest. Prior to that, I completed my Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and International Development at McGill University. Before settling down as a policy analyst in Ottawa, I had been fortunate enough to have had brief stints working in Latin America and East Africa in international development. An avid cyclist, in my spare time I enjoy multi-day cyclo-touring adventures which combines my passion for the outdoors and my interest in discovering new places and meeting new people.


James Puddicombe

James is passionate about system change, community development and innovative solutions. James is a Junior Policy Analyst with the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, where he is currently tasked with objectives that will benefit directly from Canada Beyond 150. In the fall of 2016, James graduated from Carleton University with a Masters in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. During his time there, James was awarded the 2016 Carleton University Award for Social Innovation which stemmed from his research on social finance, intermediation and the role of government. James has Board positions and Committee seats with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, The Centre for Social Enterprise Development, Ontario’s Youth Opportunity Fund and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ottawa. It is through his work, and his volunteer positions, that James feels he is able to make a difference in society.


Jason Dunkerley

Through his lived experience of walking and talking the values of diversity and inclusion, Jason has sought to blaze his own trail and to invite others to accompany him on the journey. As a multiple Paralympic medallist in middle distance running events for athletes who are blind, he has sought to give back to a sport community which has given him so much and to encourage people of all abilities to realize the transformational benefits of sport, just as he himself did. He has a BA in International Development and Spanish from the University of Guelph, and prior to joining the Public Service in 2016 as a Junior Analyst with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, completed an MA in World Literatures and Cultures from the University of Ottawa.


Jennifer Dyke

Hi! My name is Jen Dyke. I’m from St. John’s, Newfoundland, I love to read and am currently obsessed with anything written by Brian K. Vaughan. I work for Employment Insurance as an adjudicator and every day I help Canadians get access to the benefits they need. I am so excited to be a part of the Canada Beyond 150 project and hope to work on policy for social-economic inclusion. I see many barriers faced by Canadians in accessing government funding and hope to create policy that aims to remove or reduce those barriers for those in need.


Jennifer Kolz

I am a proud Canadian, avid volunteer, professional student, teacher, civil servant, mentor and world traveller who has been known to sing in the shower and frequent many a musical and brewery of craft beer. On a hiatus from graduate studies in education and theology at the doctoral level and teaching as a long-term occasional teacher, I now find myself at the Canada Border Services Agency working across Immigration and Corporate Services at Pearson International and looking forward to a long career in the public service. While my studies have provided a knowledge base to relate to the world, my work in the public service and education has shown me how to live in it, and together they have provided a means for me to nurture my passions and interests—people, education, social justice and coexistence. Fascinated by cultures and religions, and how these shape our physical landscapes, our institutions and government, our relationships and lived experiences (past, present and future), I cannot wait to embark on Canada Beyond 150 and collaborate with fellow civil servants on these and other policy-related issues.


Jennifer Jackson

Policy analysis, music and yoga—unlikely bedfellows? I think not!

I am a born and raised Ottawa girl—and proud of it!—however, I spent most of my twenties in Dublin Ireland, where I worked and went to university. My intellectual passions revolve around youth, a group that I was lucky to work with throughout my graduate degrees, and who I continue to work with today as an analyst working on Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. When I am not at work, I spend most of my time playing music with two Ottawa-based bands, the Artichoke Hearts and Fire Antlers. I am also a passionate practitioner of yoga, which helps me to stay happy, healthy and balanced.


Jeremy Paquin

A pragmatic and versatile Investment Analyst with a passion for innovative policy and sound governance; I am proud to serve Canadians. I began my career with the Government of Canada at the Department of National Defence where I developed defence infrastructure initiatives and risk management processes. In 2016 I joined Public Services and Procurement Canada as an Investment Analyst scrutinizing and recommending real property projects for Government of Canada clients across the National Capital Region. I have degrees in both Geography and Political Science from Carleton University.


Justine Gilbert

Justine Gilbert has worked as a policy analyst for both federal and provincial levels of government, including the Embassy of Canada in Washington D.C., Public Safety Canada, the National Crime Prevention Centre, the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Culture. She has worked with a vast network of stakeholders, from Aboriginal groups developing new cultural programs, to the John Howard Society on programs for at-risk youth, to supporting Canada-U.S. negotiations on preclearance. She has seen firsthand that while engagement is challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding and when done with patience, integrity and respect, it can help rebuild trust in government. She has her master’s in international affairs from NPSIA, is a founding board member of thePANEL (a foreign policy think tank), and has two undergraduate degrees, one in economics and the other in political science. A close friend recently summed up her favourite things as: cats, the Arctic, feminism, cyber security, wearing black, Hillary Clinton and her long-term career ambitions include surfing off the coast of Tofino.

Top of the page


Kathleen Robbins

I am an enthusiastic professional, passionate about creating positive social change, and enjoy creative problem solving. I have an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa. I have over six years of experience working within Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, one and a half years of experience in delivering social programs through various volunteer positions, and have worked at Health Canada for close to one year. My main interests relate to social sciences, Indigenous rights and development.


Kayle Hatt

Kayle Hatt has with an h.BA in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration and is currently an analyst working on airport policy at Transport Canada. As a participant in the Advanced Policy Analyst Program, he worked at TBS, Finance and PCO and, prior to joining government, he worked with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and on Parliament Hill. He splits his spare time between a Coursera series on #BigData, the local arts scene (#OttArts) and playing board games (#BoardGameGeek). He can be found on Twitter at @KayleHatt.


Kazia Peplinskie

Kazia is driven by a desire to make things make sense. She consistently applies a strategic lens to activities and likes to ask “Why are we doing this? Who could help us? Is this the most effective way?” She is keen to engage and likes to challenge the boundaries of traditional consultation. She continues to hone these traits in her current role as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Opioid Response Team at Health Canada.

Kazia is passionate about supporting others in their careers. She was a long-time executive member of the Treasury Board Secretariat and Health Canada young professionals networks and is actively involved in the Ottawa chapter of Dress for Success.

Kazia is a pug lover, a spelling bee champion, and an Oxford comma devotee.


Kelsey Munroe

Kelsey is a Policy Analyst at Health Canada, working at the Strategic Policy Branch in Finance and Accountability. Having recently completed her Master’s degree in Public Administration, she is excited to put her policy skills to the test. Kelsey is an amateur rock climber, expert Netflix watcher and aspires to someday learn how to properly use the gears on her bike.


Keren Gottfried

From journalism to polling to program evaluation, Keren's professional interests have always been in truth telling and evidence-based policymaking. She spent five years working at Ipsos, the public opinion polling firm, completed an MA in Public Policy and Administration at Ryerson University, and has been working at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada for two years. She is passionate about the next 150 years of Canada's history and believes it can be bright, but only if Indigenous voices lead the way. Keren is an avid cyclist and an adequate guitarist.

Top of the page


Laura Portal Avelar

Local and international explorer, avid reader and brunch enthusiast.

I am a first-generation immigrant, from El Salvador, that appreciates the cultural influences of both my birthplace and current home.

I am a post-graduate student in the Public Administration program at the University of Ottawa and a relatively new public servant who is interested in the development of policy that can stand the test of time, be understood and accessed by Canadians.

I am passionate about learning, accepting challenges and seizing the day. I truly represent the characteristics of my generation in wanting to improve my city, my province, my country and the world.


Laura Way

Laura Way is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. She is a self-declared policy wonk. Laura holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Alberta, with specializations in Canadian politics and political theory. She also holds an MA and BA from the University of Northern British Columbia. She loves that she is able to use her expertise in northern and Indigenous affairs to make a difference. Originally from northern British Columbia, Laura has a busy family life with two active children.


Lidija Malic

I am one of a fortunate few to follow a path aligned with my passion in education, career and family. As a child, I developed a fondness for science, a discipline that embodies an ethos that transcends gender, race and creed. I obtained a doctoral degree from McGill University in biomedical engineering and I continue learning with a career in scientific research. I have worked with several academic, industrial and government organizations in research and development of medical devices. I currently hold a Research Officer position at the National Research Council of Canada where I work with a talented team of scientific and technical staff on the development of novel lab-on-a-chip devices.


Louise Chien

My name is Louise and I am a self-proclaimed foodie that enjoys trying many culturally diverse foods from around the world!

Prior to joining CBSA, I was pursuing a teaching career. I developed a strong passion through my education to use creative avenues (such as using food to celebrate cultural diversity) in educating future generations. The significance of creating equal and equitable opportunities in a supportive environment is momentous. I am very excited to be selected as a participant in this project!


Lucie Verreault

When I was a kid, I wanted to be either an explorer or a comedian—I guess some would say that I ended up being a bit of both. After going to college for journalism, doing a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in international studies, I started working with international organizations and in research centres, before joining the Canadian Foreign Service. Since then I’ve worked as an advisor for the Deputy Ministers’ Office of International Commerce and as a commercial delegate and second secretary at the Embassy of Canada to Turkey. Now, I work as a Senior Policy Advisor with the Foreign Policy Planning Branch.

Top of the page


Mathew Klie-Cribb

Mathew Klie-Cribb likes to think about energy—whether it is the future of energy in Canada, or simply finding the energy to finish his basement renovations. To Mathew, thinking about energy is a way of thinking about personal health and time management, as well as sustainability, economic development, inclusiveness and reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Mathew brings a wide variety of experience to his study of energy and beyond. He currently works on the pipelines team at Natural Resources Canada. Prior to this, he has been a daily news reporter, a government relations consultant and a research analyst at the Canada School of Public Service in Ottawa. Mathew holds a Master's of Arts in International Affairs, and a Bachelor of Journalism, both from Carleton University.

Maya Jelali

Maya is a senior program development officer with Service Canada in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Originally from Ottawa, she completed her Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Ottawa in 2014.

Her career has largely revolved around working with vulnerable populations (Inuit) to access government programs, services and funding (ensures sustainable service delivery) as well as overcome numerous challenges and barriers which exist in living in remote and northern communities.

As a registered social worker with a background in health (B.Sc. from university of Ottawa) and social policy, Maya is passionate about social justice, intergenerational issues, community development and travelling!


Megan Brunton

Megan graduated from St. Thomas University in Fredericton with a BA in Political Science before she moved to Ottawa to pursue her Master’s at Carleton University in Russian and Eurasian Studies. Megan has worked in a variety of ministries on a casual and term basis before coming to NRCan in her first indeterminate position. In her downtime, she enjoys cycling, crocheting, painting and camping. She absolutely adores Asian cuisine. Megan is also a cat fancier.


Michael Burridge

Michael initially joined Canadian Heritage as a co-op student while completing his master's degree, and has since transitioned into an indeterminate position where he contributes to a high-performing team in support of our vibrant Canadian arts sector. It's a role that suits him well, as it provides an opportunity to connect with some of the country’s most passionate and creative artistic leaders, while simultaneously exercising his analytical thinking muscles. An outgoing, big-picture thinker, Michael loves adventure and exposure to new ideas; one of his favourite experiences was a year of study at Waseda University in Tokyo. Currently residing in Vancouver, he has also lived in Atlantic Canada and the Prairies, experiences which help him appreciate the diversity of perspectives present across the country and the similarities that bind us together.


Michael Kelly

To understand my personality, first recognize that my mind spontaneously asks questions like: “What would happen if Pinocchio said ‘My nose will now grow’?” I am currently in the Advanced Policy Analyst Program sponsored by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. I am originally from Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador, and instead of answering if the name is truly descriptive of the place, I make people come visit. I completed my Hon BSocSci in International Studies and Modern Languages at the University of Ottawa and my MA in Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. I have a passion for all things that make good policy. Outside of work, my passions include listening to and playing live music, anything science fiction, board games, paddling, the Oxford comma, and summertime patio weather.


Michele Charles

After growing up and graduating from high school in Toronto, I completed my B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I spent a year living in the B.C interior working on a ski hill, and then a year travelling around the world. Law took me to Halifax (Dalhousie) and then to Vancouver where I completed a clerkship at the British Columbia Court of Appeal and articled with the Department of Justice. I would rather be camping than clubbing, hiking than shopping, skiing than studying. If you know what’s good for you, you will always be nature bound.


Michelle Bailey

A critical thinker focused on constructive solutions, Michelle has honed her analytical skills through a mix of academic and professional experience. She holds a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University and a Master of Public Policy from Simon Fraser University. Michelle joined the federal public service through the Advanced Policy Analyst Program, a two-year development program that includes placements at the three central agencies and a line department. Since completing the program, Michelle has worked at Health Canada on the mental health file and is currently an analyst at the Privy Council Office, providing fiscal policy advice and coordination support for the federal budget. Michelle is a proud public servant and feels fortunate to contribute to improving the lives of Canadians through her work.

Top of the page


Nicholas Chesterley

A proud British Columbian, I am an enthusiast for ancient ruins, behavioural economics and public policy. I hold a PhD in economics from Oxford and in 2016 I joined the Results Division at Treasury Board Secretariat, looking at how departments measure, evaluate and communicate their results. My past work has included research on immunization policy, energy-efficient technology adoption, patents & innovation, and retirement saving, as well as a brief detour into why people eat chocolate. When not working at TBS, I hang out with friends, play squash, read history and wander around the world thinking about economics.

Nicholas Yee

I grew up in South East Asia and came to Canada alone (by fluke) some 12 years ago.

If I had to sum up this journey in a sentence, it would be that success is not linear.

The past decade has been a personal journey of dismantling long-held assumptions, beliefs and societal norms; while re-defining what it means to be a citizen of the world.

The name “Nicholas” means “victory of the people.” Reflecting on this journey, I noticed my natural tendency/inclination has often been one of bringing people together, to be a catalyst at fostering unity and peace—amongst people of different creed, colour and culture.

I would like to help develop inclusive policies that can draw on and accommodate both our individual differences and common humanity—a tall order, indeed!


Nirmal Subedi

Nirmal is passionate about applying economic thinking while making decisions. He consistently applies a risk-based approach to reduce the risk of wildfires to public, and assets and values we care. He is keen to engage and collaborate with his partners and stakeholders to understand the costs of wildfires in Western Canada. He continue to hone these traits in his current role as a Wildfire Research Economist at a regional office of the Natural Resources Canada, Victoria, BC.

Nirmal is passionate about nature and outdoor activities. He holds a PhD in Natural Resource Management from the State University of New York and a MS in Resource Economics from the Michigan State University, the United States. He has about eight years of work experience at Provincial government in Ontario and Saskatchewan, before joining to his current job. He is originally from a picturesque town of Pokhara, Nepal, and has a busy family life with two active children.

Top of the page

Oana Tranca

I am a forensic data analyst. I look at numbers, tables and charts and validate the methodology behind them. I also have to place them in the bigger picture of policy decisions, program evaluations and the impact of new initiatives. I’ve always liked to study how research influences real life. I enjoy running, fashion and video games.

Top of the page


Patrick Obendoerfer

After completing my Bachelor’s Degree in political studies in Winnipeg, I moved to Ottawa to pursue a career in the federal government and complete my Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration at Carleton. During my studies, I was awarded the grand prize in the National Blueprint 2020 Paper Competition on the future of the public service in Canada, and was published in the Carleton Perspectives on Public Policy journal. When I’m away from my desk at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, I spend my time playing volleyball, hiking, travelling, and working to attain my levels in French.


Phil Jansson

Phil Jansson is a passionate driver of things, whether it be a Memorandum to Cabinet, a canoe, or a side-of-desk project. For years, he has used his interest in politics and community mobilization to support youth and young adults in developing advocacy skills to lead change. As an Analyst in Cabinet and Parliamentary Affairs with the Department of Justice, he has supported key priorities for the Government, while working in a fast-paced, high-demand environment. Phil works with other volunteers at Policy Ignite bringing together public servants to share ideas to enable and support brilliant policy in the Government of Canada. He loves to enjoy the outdoors and is always up for a new challenge and an adventure.

Poya Saffari

Poya is an Analyst/Economist with the Treasury Board Secretariat. On the winding path to his current position he made several stops as a carpentry teacher, home builder, organic farmer and researcher. These experiences allowed him to interact with a diverse set of people and issues, strengthening his knowledge of Canadian public policy and sharpening his problem-solving skills. Poya also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and a Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University and was the recipient of the Herbert F. Quinn Medal for his graduate work.

Top of the page


Rebecca Ireland

Becca was raised in Ottawa and is an alumna of University of Toronto (B.A. Hon. 2014), and Carleton University (M.A. Public Administration 2016). Throughout her studies she focused on contemporary Indigenous issues and policy, which led her to pursuing a co-op position at INAC in 2015. She is passionate about reconciliation and the broader cultural shifts that need to take place within the public service as a whole. When not at work, Becca enjoys cooking, gardening and both reading and watching British murder mysteries.

René Toupin-Piper

René is an outdoors enthusiast, mediocre musician (but tries!) and fervent board game player. Innovative, energetic and self-motivated, René has experience working with private, public and non-profit sectors. With his skill-set, including policy analysis, project management, monitoring and evaluation, researching and data analysis, he integrates technology and creative problem solving to create cost-effective solutions. Having lived and worked in many countries (including Cameroon, Guatemala, East Timor, France and Canada) and having worked with vulnerable populations, he is extremely flexible, adaptable and cross-culturally sensitive.


Reshmeena Lalani

Reshmeena Lalani CPA, CA is an accountant who has a keen interest in public policy. She worked with KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers prior to joining the public service in 2014. Her degree is in English Literature from Simon Fraser University. She currently works with the CRA as an International Tax auditor, teaches with the Chartered Professional Accountants Western School of Business, serves as a Director on the board of Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and is trying to learn French. In the past she has served on the boards of Immigrant Services Society of BC, Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (BC) and various other nonprofit organizations.


Reynolds Lauer

My life’s recipe: add two cups of adventure, a cup of community, a bunch of curiosity, a lot of laughter, a tablespoon of music and sports, and a dash of fun to a blender and blitz it up! Most of my career has been in humanitarian aid, working alongside communities to build resilience and peace. Last year I joined the federal government and I have been working with Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan to further inclusive economic growth. It has been an incredible journey. I am passionate about how we can use our heads and hearts to unlock our collective potential and better the world.


Roxanne Côté-Bigras

Roxanne Côté-Bigras is an optimist who likes to combine logic and vision. She works as a programmer for the Canadian Space Agency where she supports operations related to the International Space Station. She studied engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke before attending the International Space University where she furthered her knowledge of the space industry with other space aficionados. In addition to being an engineer, Roxanne is a fierce women’s advocate and likes to encourage kids to pursue careers in STEM. When she’s not busy talking excitedly about science to anyone willing to listen, she can generally be found enjoying the great Canadian wilderness. She is a proud supporter of the #ilooklikeanengineer movement.

Roxanne Hamel

Roxanne has always intuitively known that being bossy was a quality. Her favourite quotes are ‘let’s work together on this’ and ‘does this actually make sense?’ She learned policy making at the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs and currently applies her skills at Employment and Social Development Canada. Previously, she worked at Transport Canada and Policy Horizons Canada. Outside of work hours, when she is not cooking fancy meals to satisfy a voracious toddler, Roxanne regularly occasionally practices yoga and studies Mandarin Chinese. To catch her attention, the following topics are recommended: 1) politics 2) China 3) wine & food.

Top of the page


Saief Mahmood

I believe that we all can make a difference in this word and make lives better for Canadians and people around the globe (even around the galaxy)! Desiring to make a positive, citizen-centered difference, I joined Employment and Social Development Canada in January 2014.

Prior to joining ESDC, I worked as a data analyst with the Government of Ontario, as a research assistant at Carleton University, as an intern at Amnesty International and as a consultant at the World Bank in Bangladesh. I graduated from Carleton University (Norman Paterson School of International Affairs) with an MA in International Affairs, specializing in International Development.

I like to volunteer both within the Government of Canada (such as with YMAGIN - ESDC’s youth network, and Workplace Charitable Campaign) and externally (Amnesty International, Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities and Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization).


Samantha MacConnell

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Working as a Program Advisor for ESDC as part of the Job Bank team—love my job and proud of the work we do. Freelance journalist for the Pontiac Journal. B.A in Honors English & Business Admin. from uOttawa, working on a Master's in Technical Writing from Algonquin. Passionate about writing, puppies, literature, girl power and leaving this world a little better than I found it.


Sara Gold

I am a public servant, law student and advocate with a passion for examining the intersection between public affairs, gender, law, health, inclusivity and poverty alleviation.

Eating, travelling and exploring the world one day at a time.

Sara Walde

Raised in the foothills of Alberta, I moved to Ottawa in 2013 to pursue my Master’s degree in International Development, focusing on feminist and gender studies. I entered the public service in the summer of 2014, where I was fortunate to work with a manager who showed me the transformative potential that exists within public institutions. She and I have worked together, pushing for change, ever since.

Outside of work, I volunteer with local and international women’s organizations. I am an amateur opera singer, a leisure bike rider, an eager traveler and professional Beyoncé fan. On the weekends, you will find me recharging in a yoga studio, people watching in coffee shops and parks or testing out new moves on the dance floor.

Sarah Sherhols

Policy maker turned policy defender. Counsel at the Department of Justice's Civil Litigation Section. Broad litigation practice with a focus on trial advocacy. Previously helped build a non-profit in Washington, D.C. that supports young immigrants in need while encouraging them to be active and conscientious American citizens. When not at the office, can be found sailing or globetrotting.

Shahbaz Mir

Shahbaz subscribes to the philosophy that when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. With a background in the health sciences and business administration, he is currently “shopping” for ideas and strategies to effectively tackle the challenges that affect our communities in these tough times. As an optimist, Shahbaz believes that there are always feasible and sustainable solutions to problems—even those that are perceived to be unsolvable. During his spare time, Shahbaz enjoys travelling, following world affairs, connecting with people and acquiring new skills.

Top of the page

Tanya Shum

My name is Tanya Shum, and I work for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northwest Territories Region. I’m a Policy and Program Analyst working in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I am originally from Vancouver, BC, and attended the University of British Columbia for my undergrad. I love living in the North and would encourage everyone to visit, especially in the winter to see the northern lights! I am looking forward to working and learning with my colleagues across departments and to discussing innovative and creative ideas for the next 150 years and beyond.

Top of the page


Véronique Asselin

As a versatile and creative young professional, I like to draw from my expertise to serve Canadians. As a program officer with Status of Women Canada, I work with different not-for-profit organizations to implement programs that help improve the status of women in areas such as safety, economic prosperity, and the fight against violence and leadership. I have a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political communication, and I am currently working towards a certificate in feminist studies, which enables me to combine my interest in the feminist cause and social justice. It also gives me a chance to keep learning, which is one of my passions in life. I have an analytical mind and am able to see the big picture. I also like to work as part of a team and propose innovative solutions to complex problems. On a more personal note, I’m a fan of arts of culture, being outdoors and travelling.

Top of the page


Wrenna Robertson

Wonder collector

And curious to the core

I’m made of stories